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EXPLO at wellesley*


Using socio-technical design principles to explore opportunities to help employees 

strengthen their potential to create a better experience.



Sarika Sajja

Carmen Ponce


Ethnographic Research

Visual Communication 


7 weeks 

EXPLO at Wellesley is an academic enrichment summer program for rising 8th and  9th graders. This immersive program is supported by hard-working employees who strive to stage and deliver a memorable summer for students.

One of such employees are the Day Advisors (DAs) who are mentors and instructors to students and are often burned out at the end of the day.


After extensive research on the program, we devised areas of opportunities by applying *Socio-Technical Design Principles and **Critical Chain Project Management to the organizational structure of a summer at EXPLO.

understanding stakeholders context at EXPLO

* Based on the article The Principles of Sociotechnical Design, by Albert Cherns (1976). Cherns outlines 9 principles that challenge the traditionally hierarchical and siloed structure of organizations through the "joint optimization of technological and social aspects," in an organization.

** Based on the article Critical chain: The Theory of Constraints Applied to Project Management by Graham K. Rand (2000). Rand explains how buffers, periods of times allocated to no activity, can allow for efficient use of time in project management and scheduling.


1. why the DA Instructor?


Research data informed a comprehensive map of the interactions between people at EXPLO.


DA Instructors have one of the strongest levels of interactions with students making them an important focus.

2:1. journey map

After multiple tries, the final iteration for the journey map used a map of the Wellesley College campus as the underlay to emphasize the amount of traveling, time spent, and activities that went on throughout the day. 

expllona copy copy_Page_1.jpg
3. pain points

 The journey map and blueprints clearly pointed out pain points in the daily schedule of the DA Instructor. 

2:2. blueprint

An extensive blueprint of interactions, times, locations and other details was created to visualize the daily schedule of a DA Instructor to find pain points and identify areas of opportunity.

This map was digitized by Carmen Ponce.

3. pain points

The journey map and blueprints clearly pointed out pain points in the daily schedule of the DA Instructor. 


4. areas of opportunity

HIGH-LEVEL COSTS requires a lot of resources

Professional Development Workshops + Break-time

The current staff at EXPLO is split into Group A and Group B. Schedule professional development for one group while the other group is on break, once per week.

Volunteer Instructor Assistants:

Hire high school students as teacher assistants to assist the instructors with tasks that may take time away from students and with other trivial but important tasks like washing staff T-shirts. 


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